Price and spec details released for saloon
11 March 2008

Honda's new Accord saloon will start at £19,250 when it goes on sale this June, a substantial increase over the outgoing model.The new 148bhp i-DTEC diesel motor is expected to constitute the bulk of sales. It starts at £21,050 in base ES spec, with prices stretching to £26,650 for the range-topping EX GT Tech Pack. Two petrol engines are also available. The entry-level 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol motor will cut under the £20K barrier, weighing in at £19,250 in ES trim and continuing to £23,550. The most powerful 2.4-litre petrol starts at £23,250 and tops out at £26,550.Honda has made a big deal out of the premium feel of the 2008 Accord, claiming that it rivals the Audi A6 for space and quality, with the class-leading BMW 3-Series the benchmark for dynamics.It's predicted that the biggest selling model will be the Accord 2.2 i-CTDI ES GT, which comes with 17-inch alloys, half leather seats, cruise control, aero kit, sports suspension and climate control for £21,900. Honda is keen to point out that the equivalent Audi A4 will set you back a further £2000.It had better be good: the new entry-level Accord costs £2037 more than the outgoing version, and rivals like the Mazda 6 and the Ford Mondeo are considerably cheaper. Tom Gardner, head of marketing for Honda UK, reaffirmed the company's confidence in the new Accord: "We know this car can mount a credible challenge to Audi and BMW, and this shows that we can offer that premium experience at an accessible price."We look forward to getting behind the wheel and finding out if the new Accord really can take the fight to the premium brands. Pricing for the Tourer estate will be announced later.

Our Verdict

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord has a comfortable interior, but it's a forgettable drive with a fiddly dash

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11 March 2008

£2k more than the out going car! It may be better quality than the old one but it doesn't look much different from the outside.

I'll bet a few Honda dealer principal's sphincters went "critical" when they heard the prices.

Anyone want to guess how long till they start discounting ar dealerships or Honda "realign" their prices?

I'll start the generous bidding at 6 months.

Incidentally, if they try this with the new Jazz then Honda will have BIG problems.

If I want an autonomous car, I'll take a taxi.

11 March 2008

I thought Honda would have learnt the dangers of what it is doing with the new Accord's pricing when it was working with Rover. When the 400 hatch was launched in 1995 Rover instantly hiked the prices up over its predecessor, the 200/400, in an attempt to persuade everyone that the 400 was now a premium product and a cut above rivals such as the Escort, 306 and even the clone Honda Civic. Sadly for Rover, this policy failed as everyone could see through the 400's make-up and that car was nowhere near as successful as its predecessor, to the point where Rover's unrealistic upmarket aspirations led to its downfall. It could even be suggested that this outlook started when the 600 was launched in 1993 - that car cost thousands more that the Montego, albeit the 600 was a far better car.

The Accord won't fail, but conversley it won't come anywhere near the sales of an A4, 3-Series or a C-Class, or even the class-leading Mondeo. Honda must realise that a marque's image cannot change overnight. It has taken Audi almost 30 years to become a premium brand, and that is regardless of whether their cars are any good or not, and i don't doubt that the Honda will be a better car than the A4.

Also, the problem for Honda is that its upmarket aspirations lie only with the Accord. What about the rest of the range which have no such dillusional pretentions. A rather uneasy balance, particularly when you step into a Honda showroom to see a 'premium' car standing alongside mainstream siblings. If Honda wants a premium presence in Europe, it should bring the Acura brand over. After all, the new Accord will be sold as an Acura TSX in North America.

12 March 2008

You can't blame Honda for trying convince people the Accord is a premium car. Trouble is, the premium thing is mainly about image, not engineering. Honda's engineering prowess is not in doubt, but most people I speak to see the Accord as worthy and reliable but dull. A car for readers of Which? magazine rather than readers of Autocar. Who wants to be associated with that image? What's more, who wants to pay top dollar for it?

Honda missed an opportunity to make the Accord look something special. They went and evolved a particularly dull looking car into another forgettable shape. They can do things differently when they want; just look at the Civic!

Good luck to Honda pulling it off, but I think they're in for a long haul before they are seen in the same bracket as Merc and BMW.

12 March 2008

[quote Roy Fullee]Rover's unrealistic upmarket aspirations led to its downfall[/quote]

Roy - very interested to hear of your opinion about the downfall of Rover. To me this is exactly the case and it was highlighted by that silly Rover grille. Prior to the grille Rover was doing increasingly well and was producing honest rivals to the Fords and Vauxhalls of the day. With the tiniest bit of success Rover decided it wanted to rival BMW and started by sticking that grille on to the front of its cars. Immediately it made the cars look stuffy and I think too pretentious for many potential buyers.To me this began the downfall of Rover.

I drive a current diesel Accord on an 04 plate and have done 100,000 miles over the last 4 years. I have been very pleased with it especially with its long distance crusing ability and fuel economy. It has been a very cheap company car to run. I am replacing it with a 3 series touring but if the new Accord Tourer was out now I would be considering it but it would all depend on the costs. If the price of the new Accord Tourer is too high the running costs may alienate some company car users. It will be interesting to see the figures for emissions and fuel economy of the new diesel engine to see if these can offset the high purchase price.

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